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Definition of ECHELON
a (1): an arrangement of a body of troops with its units each somewhat to the left or right of the one in the rear like a series of steps (2): a formation of units or individuals resembling such an echelon <geese flying in echelon>(3): a flight formation in which each airplane flies at a certain elevation above or below and at a certain distance behind and to the right or left of the airplane ahead
b: any of several military units in echelon formation; also: any unit or group acting in a disciplined or organized manner <served in a combat echelon>
a: one of a series of levels or grades in an organization or field of activity <involved employees at every echelon>
b: a group of individuals at a particular level or grade in an organization <the upper echelons of the bureaucracy>